Does your product or service BITE? What’s really holding back your product sales performance?

By David Sauter, CEO

Published: December 19, 2013

Did I get your attention?

If your product or service sucks, then stop reading and go fix it. Now! But if your product or service is high quality and you are meeting customer expectations with a high rate of satisfaction or loyalty, then read on.

I’m not talking about product perfection; in today’s markets that’s impossible. I am talking about excellence. If you strive for excellence (and we all say we do), the fact that you have a great product or service is not enough. It is time for you to rethink what “excellence” means. I am talking paradigm shift. This is particularly true if you are a 40-65 year-old executive leader, marketer or salesperson. Why? Most professionals in this age group are afraid of customers. They are afraid of what their customers think and feel. And what customers think and feel are today’s key indicators of your excellence.

You are probably thinking, “I know my customers. I know what they think about our products and services. I even have a Facebook page!” I am here to tell you, you are only scratching the surface. Plus, it’s no longer about what you think anyway.

In the old days, you could contain and control your message. You developed a product or service; you targeted groups with print ads, radio, etc. for marketing purposes; the sales rolled in. Not anymore. A huge shift has taken place with the advent of social media and new technologies. The old days are never returning. And every day that passes is an old day.

So, who has control now? Yep, you guessed it, the good ole’ customer. That means you have less control. Much less. If you are a control freak (and many leaders are) your choices today are to change or retire. If you don’t, you are choosing to hold back your brand and live in a “Mad Men” fantasy-land where marketers control customers.

Here’s what I know for sure:

  • Social media and digital media are growing pretty dang fast. Even if you personally refuse to participate, get over it or perish!
  • People trust friends. According to a study from Nielsen, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. That is an increase of 18% since 2007.
  • And a bit surprisingly, people trust online reviews. According to the same study from Nielsen, online consumer reviews are the second most-trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform. That is an increase of 15% in four years.
  • Many marketers are stuck in the past. Forty-seven percent of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads and confidence in these mediums has declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009. And yet (time to pick on the marketers), the majority of advertising dollars is spent on traditional or paid media such as television.

Sorry for the harsh reality. I am not saying everyone should trust all those online reviews. But most do. That is an important distinction. We aren’t here to judge, just to understand and leverage. You could choose to ignore those reviews and all forms of social media as “a fad” or “unprofessional” or “a waste of time.” I am here to tell you that if you do, you are signing your brand’s death certificate.

So, next question, do you ask for reviews…publicly, on your website and then do you share them, unedited, believably? And, are you really engaged in social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, or are you just blathering on like most old line PR and marketing folks? It is a good time to ask these questions. If your customers can’t interact with you, they will interact with your competitors. If their interaction with your brand isn’t authentic, they will search for a more authentic experience with your competitors. More importantly, they will tell their friends about it every step of the way.

It’s time to get in on the conversation. It’s time to listen and respond.

If your answers to the above questions are honest and you can get over your fear, anxiety, prejudices and oldness then let’s chat. At Envano, we’ve been breaking rules, shifting paradigms and leveraging the next thing since the internet was still in diapers. We know how to steer brands through unchartered waters. It doesn’t scare us and we’re good at it. Just ask our clients.